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Thread: I coughed and threw out my back. Help.

  1. #1
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    I coughed and threw out my back. Help.

    Ow. I am still a bit under the weather due to a nasty cold. Anyway, this morning I was in the bathroom coughing up some green stuff...and the coughs were particularly violent. I threw out my back.

    I'm having what seems to be muscle spasms in my lower lower back. I don't know what to do.

    To make things worse, tomorrow is the first official day of practice for the university swim team. I really want to go, and I really want to swim.

    How do I fix this so I can swim by tomorrow? And should I tell my coach what I did today via e-mail? Will she believe me? Since it's the start of the season, will I even get to stay on the team after this? Help me.

    Update: I went and saw a Doc at my student care center today. Apparently I have Piriformis Syndrome which is causing sciatica in my left side. 4-6 weeks to heal. Anyone had this before?
    Last edited by hmlee; October 6th, 2005 at 06:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Help me
    Help yourself. Go to the university clinic and see a doctor who is medically qualified to advise you. Anyone who is coughing up green stuff from their lungs in such a violent manner that they are throwing out their back should have their health as their first concern. It also can't hurt your credibility with your coach to have seen a doctor.

  3. #3
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    Yes...I'm planning on going to the SCC (student care center) as soon as I can. The problem is, I can't exactly walk without pain. So I'm trying to find a way to alleviate the back pain before I can get into the doctor...

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
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    I know how you feel. My back muscles are always in some state of tightness. Coughing can be dangerous to your back.

    One way to help loosen the muscles up is to take 2 tennis balls, lay down on the floor on your back. Place the tennis balls one on either side of the spine in the area you are feeling the muscle tightness in.

    This always helps my back out. I sometimes have to do this for as long as an hour on various points on my back. Hope it gives you some relief.

    Donna

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    Very Active Member A.K.'s Avatar
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    Green Stuff = Nasty Cold and it will run it's course......... on the other hand.. coughing and having a sharp pain in the back could be another matter.
    Most people that herniate-throw their back out - create bulging discs or what other way you want to call it .. have done so while coughing/sneezing. This could be a disc problem. Have it checked out. If you can move around then it probably isn't too serious.
    Have you tried an inversion table?
    Thanks,

    A.K.

    Don't Panic!

  6. #6
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    Inversion table? No. My mom happens to be in chiropractic school so I called her. She suggested rest and alternating ice and heat with doing some sort of extension thing whenever I stand up. Hopefully it's not that serious. I don't need a disc problem before I'm 20!

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Seagurl51's Avatar
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    What about muscle relaxers to stop the spasing? That should help loosen things up. I take them sometimes for my shoulder and have found them very helpful.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member dorothyrde's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hmlee
    Inversion table? No. My mom happens to be in chiropractic school so I called her. She suggested rest and alternating ice and heat with doing some sort of extension thing whenever I stand up. Hopefully it's not that serious. I don't need a disc problem before I'm 20!
    I have some back issues, and heat helps the most, so I would apply heat on it. The cough should be checked out as you have had it for awhile. Also, swimming actually helps my back. I would not do anything really hard, but stretching out in the pool usually helps quite a bit.

  9. #9
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    Isn't it funny (strange, not humorous) how we pull muscles in our backs/necks doing some of the most innocent things. I have pulled muscles tying my shoe, turning quickly to see what car is beeping at me, leaning over the sink doing dishes...

    No problem moving boxes up to the attic, or tilling the garden, or carrying bags of cement. But reach out the drivers window to give the toll booth lady her money and ... ZINGGG ... I have a pain in the neck for the next few days.

    You need to determine whether the pain is actually a pull or a tear in the muscle, or if it is a cramp. If the latter, a good massage therapist can work it out for you. If the former, you'll have to work through it.

    I find ibuprofin works best for me for stuff like this. I also find that it is less likely to happen if I have been keeping up with my routine chiropractic adjustments.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    So I went to the student care center. Pretty much a waste of my time as I thought. Took me an hour just to see a nurse (they had no doctor's appts until like thursday). She gave me some stronger ibuprofen and told me to take it around the clock. If it doesn't get better in a few days I'm supposed to go back for a more detailed exam. Oh joy.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member A.K.'s Avatar
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    Did you hear a pop when your cough led to your back issue?

    And Yes- Inversion tables are awesome. I hang upside before and after doing major yard work and it makes a huge difference decompressing the spine.
    Thanks,

    A.K.

    Don't Panic!

  12. #12
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    I don't remember hearing much of anything at the time...just a very sharp pain and an inability to stand up.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member dorothyrde's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hmlee
    So I went to the student care center. Pretty much a waste of my time as I thought. Took me an hour just to see a nurse (they had no doctor's appts until like thursday). She gave me some stronger ibuprofen and told me to take it around the clock. If it doesn't get better in a few days I'm supposed to go back for a more detailed exam. Oh joy.
    Not sure how much a Doc can help. HAve you had back problems before?

    I am with Gov, I go to a chiropractor to keep the back pain at bay.

  14. #14
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    Does you school have a sports-medicine center for the varsity athletes? If so, you should go there. They were always best able to deal with my muscular/skeletal problems when I was in college (and I boast a compression fracture in my spine as well as a shoulder impingement).

    If you can avoid it, stay away from muscle relaxers. When I first broke that vertebrae in my spine my freshman year, the medical center didn't do x-rays and just gave me muscle relaxers. It was around finals time, and I took one and then took my books up into the top bunk to study around 4 pm. Got sleepy, woke up at 6 pm. The next day.

    Go with ibuprofin instead unless you have a really bad problem.

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    Just an addendum to my previous post about doing chiropractic.

    The philosophy behind chiropractic is that regular adjustments keep the spine as close to optimum, natural alignment as possible. All sorts of things can cause minor misalignments in the vertebrae -- sitting crooked, falls, sleeping on something not made for sleeping (couch, lounge chair.) I'm not talking about major injuries here...

    Anyway, there are muscles running all throughout your back, in all different directions, and all different lengths. The right (or wrong) misalignment could cause any one to stretch or pull just slightly differently than its conditioned for, and that may result in a pull or spasm. And it only takes injury to one strand of muscle to cause legendary pain. People live their lives with these misalignments, and eventually the surrounding/affected muscles develop conditioning to compensate. So I'm not saying that someone who doesn't get chiro is in for a lifetime of trouble. After all, mankind survived for millennia before the advent of chiro!

    But if we get the vertebrae re-aligned on a regular basis, our bodies don't have to do so much adapting and re-adapting to changing vertebral positionings.

    There is another level to the benefits of chiro. One thing our bodies tend to do is to keep our eyes even on a horizontal level. If a misalignment in our back causes a marginal shift in the tilt of the head, the body will find a way to compensate elsewhere. Maybe it will be a shift in the positioning of the neck. Maybe the hip. Maybe in the way weight is balanced between the two legs. This results in yet another change in the conditioning of another set of muscles somewhere in the body to accommodate a subtle shift in strain. (Or in reverse, if the misalignment is in the neck, the compenssation may occur somewhere in the back. Very few people would consider that knee pain might actually be due to a misalignment in the neck!)

    Therefore, a chiropractor treating a patient with a pull in the lower back will still be sure to check alignment in the hips, upper back and neck as well.

    So back to my approach, I get regular alignments (at least twice a month, and often weekly.) It doesn't mean I will never pull a muscle in my back again, but I give my body its best shot at avoiding such injuries.

    --

    With respect to the pulled muscle from coughing -- I have noticed personally that I feel more strain in my back if I cough or sneeze while looking down. HMLEE was "in the bathroom coughing up some green stuff ..." Perhaps that was while leaning over a toilet or sink, and therefore looking down. Just speculation, but I could see that exact scenario happening to me.

    For a pulled back or neck muscle my chiropractor recommends ice. I keep insisting that heat makes it feel better, but she insists that ice reduces the inflammation. Heat loosens things up temporarily by increasing blood flow to the area, but in the long haul ice gets the inflammation away quicker. Ibuprofin reduces inflammation too.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    Ironically enough, my mother is actually in chiropractic school right now. She told me lots of ice. I didn't believe her because the heat pads feel so good....but now I've got a bag of frozen peas under me as I lie on my couch and boy....it's like the best feeling in the world.

  17. #17
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    Once I was walking my dog, a huge coon hound, I coughed, and cracked a rib. The doctors thought it was one of the funniest things they had ever heard about. They laughed while I cried!

  18. #18
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    I once pulled a muscle in my upper back taking a deep breath on my inhaler.

    Ya just never know.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member hmlee's Avatar
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    I'm going in to a doctor on Thursday after my morning practice. At this point, I'm worried I may have slipped a disc.

  20. #20
    Active Member Yardbird's Avatar
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    I once read an article by a triathlete about preparing for a race. She made the amusing observation that she had to be careful about engaging in high risk activities -- like pulling on a turtleneck sweater!

    The thing about those those types of injuries is that the muscle or whatever tissue that "breaks" was already injured. The sneeze or cough is just the final push that renders it full blown.

    HMLEE -- I am very sorry to read about this injury! I was enjoying your story and looking forward to hearing your tales of triumph. I hope the injury is not serious and you will again regale us with stories of your comeback!

    Best regards,
    Kim

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